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Help...I feel like I'm drowning....

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Old 09-19-2006, 07:05 AM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Vermont, USA
Posts: 166
m1e1b1s1 HB User
Help...I feel like I'm drowning....

I just found you

I've got situations I dont' know how to handle, or what to do....I need opinions, I need some direction.

I've got the following....

1) A severely depressed sister, who lost her son 8 years ago and her husband 26 years ago, who is on anti-depressants without any type of therapy. SHe is on the verge of a break down.

2) A severely depressed sister in law, who was abused as a child and was in a very abusive relationship, which ended tragically when her fiance died, he drowned and the body was never found (unfortunately, it ended a relationship that was violent, he almost killed her 2 weeks prior to the drowning)

3)A severely depressed nephew, who does nothing is 28 and lives with his parents and is going to cause them to divorce and refuses help

4) A best friend currently in the hospital receiving ECT after many years of therapy several times a week, and every anti-depressant on the face of the earth.

I don't know how to help them...My friend, she's getting help right now, which I think is working.

My sister....she refuses anything and thinks because her husband and son died, she isn't worthy of living a normal life and should continue sitting and grieving, and not helping herself or doing anything for herself, though she'll tell you she needs help and she'll tell you "she's done everything possible"

My sister in law....she's home now, unable to work due to panic attacks, which are brought on by a feeling of no self worth and not being able to "live up to everyones expectations"...she never got over the drowning, and though she' since married a wonderful man, who is unbelievably supportive...she still thinks the other is coming back...and she is stressed beyond belief about money, and can't work, but can't stop spending (the husband too)...I'm watching her fall apart....

My nephew...he is 28, lives with his parents, got violent las tyear with is mother, was removed from the house, I took him with us hoping to talk to him and get him to see what is going on, he went back home, couldn't go back to the hosue due to a restraining order, was living in a hotel, getting help from the state, but though is mother was not supposed to see him, she saw him daily, gave him money, food, brought him out to eat, etc...and eventually after about a month..ended up back in the house, living in a room, on teh computer all of the time, and won't work, won't help around the house, won't do anything, and my sister doesn't see it....she'll agree it isn't right, but just doesn't do anything to get him help or get on with his life. He is going to cause a divorce between her and her husband, her husband is stressed to the point he's physically constantly, won't eat....etc...


How can I help?

How can I be supportive, but not encourage them all not getting help? Everytime I mention doing something, they say "you don't know, you haven't been here"....

I'm a very strong person....and they all say that, but on the other hand they all resent me for it...I was a mother at 17, married at 21, bought our home at 21, had a great job, which I left due to stress and am now self employed and doing are now almost 16 and other is 7..I do what i have to do and though I know I've been through my own bouts of depression, and gotten through them...I feel myself like I shouldn't suceed and I should fail and then maybe they will all respect me for tha (my best friend is the only one who takes my advise and lets me help).

I don't know what to do.

I don't know how to help???

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Old 09-20-2006, 06:12 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2003
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Ruth6:11 HB UserRuth6:11 HB User
Re: Help...I feel like I'm drowning....

I am sure that other people have told you that you cannot help those who will not help themselves.
I know that's hard to do when they are family. If you have offered to take them to the doctor's office, suggested that medication would really help them get a jumpstart on feeling better then I'm not sure there IS anything that you can do.
People have to use the hand that is on the end of their own arm sometimes...

Short of going to a doctor, if you think they would do it there are support groups for depression, also one called Emotions Anonymous. Even if it's been a long time Hospice has grief groups that could help with unresolved issues of suicide and death. They're free, and you don't have to have used their services to go to the groups. It's not so much therapy as being with people who will understand because they have gone through the same thing.

I think you are possibly in danger of being "dragged in by the undertow" with the situations your family is in. For your own mental health I would truly suggest that you limit the time that you listen... It isn't turning your back - it's just giving yourself a break so that you won't burn out all together.

You need to take care of your own mental health needs before you are so stressed out by theirs that you are no good to anyone, including your own family, right??

Come back here anytime - you almost qualify for the "Caretaker" board I do believe!!

Last edited by Ruth6:11; 09-20-2006 at 06:13 PM.

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Liahciara (12-27-2010)
Old 09-21-2006, 05:06 AM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 409
mayam HB User
Re: Help...I feel like I'm drowning....

Hello there
That is a hefty load to have to deal with and i agree with the last poster that they are really not your problems.
I know that may sound hard but really it seems as if your own esteem is taking a battering as your family resent your excellent coping ability.
i think this is what you need to concentrate on as you already feel as if you are drowning in other people's issues.

You can tell your family that you love them so much and hope that they can find the strength to seek the help that they need, because you really would like them to have a better life . One day they may just do that and get out of the rut they are in. After all, you did it yourself so that you know it can be done.
It may be very frustrating for you to take this stance but i think firstly you have to respect yourself. Maybe if you stop trying to rescue them, your family will do the same.
They are lucky to have such a caring person as you are and a good role model even though they don't appreciate it at the moment.
Well done to your friend for making positive moves to improve her health and letting you help.
Take care of yourself

Old 09-21-2006, 06:23 AM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Vermont, USA
Posts: 166
m1e1b1s1 HB User
Re: Help...I feel like I'm drowning....

Thanks to you both!

You are right, and I have in the past separated myself from this. My friend doing the ECT is actually a therapist, with her masters, she's told me in the past (when she was well) that i do need to back off and let them do their own thing. THe problem is I've always been the "rock" in my husbands family, it is a huge load to carry, and I've done my best but it's very hard to see them all going through this and my not being able to help.

I've offered everything to them all..doctors appts, cleaning, shopping, what ever I can do to help in their daily lives, they've all refused, so I've backed off.

I guess there isn't much more I can do.....I've actually thought about going to a support group myself for caregivers, much as I did when my mother was an alcoholic when I was growing up (some very tough love got her sober 9 years ago....thankfully), it really helped me as a teenager when she was drinking. I'll check into that myself.

Thanks again....what a great board this is, so many caring people out there!

Old 09-23-2006, 12:43 AM   #5
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 409
mayam HB User
Re: Help...I feel like I'm drowning....

Hello there
Yes, a support group for yourself would be worth looking into. Sounds like
you've had some very tough times growing up.
Good luck and let us know how you go.

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